Military Changes is First Talk of 2017 Viewpoints Series

Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury event on March 6 is free and open to the public

Bessler right and Afghanistan officers 2Our military is ramping up in strength again and all specialties are now open to both genders. These are among the sweeping changes Col. John Bessler, Retired U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, will discuss at the first of RWC’s popular Viewpoints Series talks on March 6.

Bessler said all branches of the military have been reducing their forces over the last few administrations. However, President Obama in December signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act into law authorizing the military to be prepared. “Congress is basically telling the military, ‘Be ready,’” Bessler said.

“Another recent change for the military hits close to home for me,” Bessler said. “All specialties in the military are now available to both genders. So for example, my daughter, who is a lieutenant in the Army, chose field artillery, which means she jumps out of airplanes following the cannon.”

Bessler embedded in Afghanistan 2Bessler met his wife at the College of William & Mary and both of their children are also W&M alumni. After graduation in 1985, he had a series of assignments around the world in his 30-year military career including in Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Afghanistan. After deployment to the Sinai for peace-keeping operations between the Israelis and the Egyptians, he spent the last half of his career developing and studying cultural relations. He has served as a roundtable presenter for the George C. Marshall Seminar for the last several years.

The Viewpoints series features experts on a wide range of topics of current interest. These free presentations begin at 11 a.m. and are held on the first Monday of the month for four consecutive months in the Chesapeake Center Auditorium on RWC’s campus, 132 Lancaster Dr., Irvington.

The remainder of the 2017 Viewpoints schedule includes:

  • April 3 – Trent Nicholas, Media Programs Coordinator, VMFA
  • May 1 – Laurie McCord, former Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, Office of the First Lady
  • June 5 – Selden Richardson, Author, “Tri-State Gang in Richmond”

Reservations are required and are on a first come, first served basis. Reservations for the March 6 event will begin on Feb. 20 by calling RWC at 438-4000. Attendees are invited to remain after the presentations for a complimentary luncheon. Reservations open for each speaker two weeks prior to the event. RWC maintains a waiting list and will honor reservations in the order received. Separate reservations must be made for each speaking event in the Viewpoints series.

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